AKG K612

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NO SMOOTHING is applied to the shown plots. Most measurement sites have some smoothing applied which ‘irons flat’ sharp peaks and ‘wiggles’. I do not use smoothing because some info about sound quality is lost when plots are smoothed.

Aside from a small correction of the microphone itself also some correction in the lowest frequencies is applied to the plots to compensate for the perceived loss of bass when using headphones. This is described HERE in more detail.
A ‘horizontal‘ frequency response curve on the shown frequency response plots on this website thus indicates a perceived ‘flat’ tonal signature.

ALL measurements are made with a good SEAL on a flatbed measurement rig.
shape of your head, bone structure, pad size, pad ‘softness,  (compliance), hair or no hair and or wearing glasses may (drastically) change the frequency response of some headphones, so… your personal experience may differ substantially from these plots.

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AKG K612


The AKG K612 is the successor of the K601.
The K612 looks really nice with its colour accents. The picture above really doesn’t do it justice. It has the same typical construction the other headphones above show. The K612 is made of more luxurious materials and finish.
I expect the elastic bands to fail in a decade or so, just like the headphones above.
Nice leather and metal accents.  The pads are velours and very comfortable. Seems to be similar material as used on the K240 velours pads.
The cable is not too thick and not too thin and supple. Low in microphonics which is a good thing.
It is a very comfortable headphone with enough clamping force and  enough space for the ears. The pad’s inner diameter is 80mm, the height is about 20mm.
A difference it shows compared to the models above is that this headphone can be driven louder.
Below the frequency response of the K612.

k612 frequency

What’s obvious is the resemblance above 5kHz to the K400/500 above. The K612 has a similar ‘bump‘ around 2.5kHz followed by a small dip. The CSD below shows us this is a resonance. K7** owners also will be experiencing this resonance. The K612 doesn’t show the typical roll-off below 100Hz which the 400/500 series shows. In fact I would say it is rather flat.
K7** owners will have a bit more elevated bass or should I say more elevated mid-bass.
There is a small (1.5dB) level matching difference between Left and Right driver between 20Hz and 1kHz but did not really detect it at all. It is there non-the-less and seems to be a driver variation difference. I re-measured it a few times, just to make sure.

k612 csd
What’s also obvious is that the 3 peaks (7kHz upwards) are resonances but quite narrow ones and not very long lived. The treble isn’t really ‘silky’ because of this, and lacks ‘resolution’. The peaks (being elevated above the rest) also give a sense of being a highly detailed headphone where in reality it is not. It is ‘fake’ detail though which becomes obvious when comparing it to ‘better’ headphones. Still… by itself a nice sounding headphone with flagship looks but just below flagship performance in the treble area only.

The impedance of the K612 is 120 Ω which is a value nicely inbetween the more common 32 and 300 Ohm. It can be driven well by portable players directly and C’Moy alike amplifiers as it is fairly efficient and doesn’t need much voltage nor much current which makes it a headphone that is very easy to drive.
The K612 being 120 Ω doesn’t mean it should be driven from a 120 Ω amplifier but it does change its sonic signature slightly on a higher output resistance. In my opinion slightly for the better. The output level drops about 6dB when a 120Ω adapter is used so it won’t play loud enough on portable players anymore though.  An amplifier with a 100Ω to 120Ω output R will bump up the sound quality.
The plot below (right channel only) shows how the sound changes when it is fed from a 0 Ω amplifier and a 120 Ω output R amplifier.
Level differences have been removed in this plots to show what the actual change will be.
The lower bass is raised slightly by around 2dB. Also the treble increases and the K612 thus become slightly more U-shaped… just slightly as if one adjusts the bass and treble knobs on your old stereo receiver by about one ‘notch’.

k612 0 ohm vs 120 ohm

The increased upper treble (clarity is not affected, it resides lower in the frequency band) can be lowered quite simply.
I have had fairly good results with damping the treble on some headphones using felt in front of the driver and it appears as though this headphone reacts well to this treatment as well.
Below the frequency response of the K612 with 3 mm felt in front of the driver. The treble spikes are lowered considerably.
As can be seen the leftright differences are still there. I slighlty changed the L-R ‘balance’ so the average levels are closer to each other.

k612 felt 3mm

Below a plot showing the differences the felt makes between a stock K612 and with 3mm thick wool-felt in front of the driver.
Right channel only. The felt only lowers the peaks in amplitude and the rest remains exactly the same.

k612 stock vs felt

Below the CSD of the ‘felt treated’ K612. The 2-3kHz resonance is much smaller and resonance around 12kHz is almost completely removed.
The felt doesn’t seem to do that much above 15kHz though. Left, Right

k612 felt csd

The ‘sharp’ treble signature is completely gone and the headphone now has a warm character. I find it more pleasant, but the K612 still shows a ‘low quality’ treble which isn’t masked anymore by it being elevated  and sounds a bit ‘coarse’ as in not smooth.
I do think it sounds better this way as I don’t like piercing treble that much these days.
As 3mm felt removed a bit too much of the ‘detail’ I played around with thinner felt (1.5mm) and even toilet paper.The effect you get when using 1.5mm thick felt is right between the red and the green line in the ‘difference plot’.
Some of the ‘harshness’ in the treble is lowered and you don’t get the sense of ‘hyper detail’ any more.  It still has retained the original character but the ‘piercing’ is gone. It is slightly more obvious that the treble isn’t reallythat  resolving and smooth though but more pleasant to me than when in original form.

The modifications are very easy to do. Simply slightly rotate the pads counter clockwise and the pads come off. On the driver you will notice a foam ring (on the left, in the picture below). Remove that foam ring and cut a piece felt to about the same size as the ring.
K612 modReplace the foam with the felt and put the pads back on. Observe how the holes in the pad’s ring have to align with small tabs on the drivers baffle. Push the pads on the baffle (align the holes and tabs) and rotate the pads a few degrees clockwise while pushing down.

K612 pad modifiedExperiment with felt thicknesses, or layers of toilet paper, if you are not entirely pleased with the result.
This modification can be undone easily if you do not like what it does to the sound.
It will work similar on K701 and all its iterations as well.

There is also a filter module available for the Kameleon amplifier.
Below the differences for a stock K612 (K601) and when using the Kameleon

k612 on bass boost

It still sounds like the K612 but it doesn’t ‘lack’ in the bottom and the treble is slightly lower.
With 1.5mm felt it can be lowered a bit more but loses the typical ‘analytical’ nature a bit.

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